HomeBrowse by agesBaby
Understanding Postpartum Depression and Finding Resources to Start Healing

The journey of giving birth and welcoming your new little one into the world can be an emotional roller coaster. With your hormones going through huge shifts and your body adjusting to all the changes, it can take a little while to feel like yourself again. However, if you have intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and depression that don’t go away, you could be experiencing a medical condition called postpartum depression.

Banner Image

Postpartum depression refers to the intense negative emotions that some mothers experience after giving birth. It can be caused by a mix of physical, emotional, and hormonal changes. Unlike the “baby blues,” which is a temporary and mild condition, postpartum depression is more severe and long-lasting and requires professional help. 

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

Symptoms of postpartum depression can include:

  • Persistent sadness or frequent crying

  • Difficulty bonding with your baby

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or inadequacy as a mother

  • A loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns

  • Irritability or anger

  • Severe mood swings

  • Panic attacks or excessive anxiety

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

What should I do if I experience symptoms of postpartum depression?

It’s essential to seek professional help if you’re experiencing any symptoms of postpartum depression, as early intervention can significantly improve your mental health and well-being. Postpartum depression is a medical condition that usually requires professional support to address. Talk to your healthcare provider or your child’s pediatrician about your concerns. They may be able to recommend affordable mental health resources in California, such as support groups or sliding-scale therapy services. We’ve also compiled some resources for you. More resources include:

  • The California Department of Public Health has provided numbers you can call or text for help. 

  • The National Maternal Health Hotline provides 24/7, free, confidential support before, during, and after pregnancy. Call 1-833-943-5746. 

  • The ​​​Postpartum Support International Hotline provides information, encouragement, and names of resources near you. Call or text "HELP" to 800-944-4773.

  • You can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or having thoughts of suicide, seek help right away.

How common is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is common, affecting one in eight new mothers. If you’re experiencing symptoms, know that you’re not alone. It’s essential to be open about your feelings and reach out for support and help to ensure that you and your baby receive the care and nurturing you both need. 

Postpartum Support International is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those with depression that starts during pregnancy (called prenatal depression) and depression that begins after the baby is born (called postpartum depression). They have a California chapter that you can join to connect with a community of women working through these medical conditions.

Does postpartum depression only affect the person giving birth?

Postpartum depression can impact both the parent who gave birth and the co-parent, who may also struggle with stress, sleep disturbances, and their own mental health challenges. It’s crucial for both parents to support each other and seek help if necessary.

I’ve heard about the “baby blues,” is that the same as postpartum depression?

Most new mothers experience the “baby blues” after childbirth, which typically includes mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms usually start within the first two to three days after delivery and can last up to two weeks. Postpartum depression is a more severe, long-lasting condition than the baby blues that requires professional help.

It’s essential to prioritize your mental health as a new parent. Reach out for help and support so that you and your child can thrive together.

First 5 California
Contributed by:
First 5 California
Find this useful?
Join our First 5 family – it’s free!
Enjoy personalized content based on your child’s age every time you visit our site.